Lynn Schoeffler © 2008

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Another year, another purse! Time for the second annual purse contest over at Crazy Quilting International, and the "anything goes" theme sounded like fun; an opportunity to think outside my usual CQ box.

I thought it would be simple, easy and quick to over-embroider a piece of tapestry with silk ribbon. Was I wrong on all three counts! It took me almost a month to find a tapestry pattern that I felt had sufficient floral and color variation; then several days to decide which section of the fabric would look best for my small bag, and what stitches I would use for each floral spray. I had originally envisioned working a single spray of flowers, but after I had embroidered the first one, I realized that the rest of the bag looked unfinished and flat. So now the entire thing had to be done!

Fortunately, I remembered looking at Deborah Brunnerís Fiber Art* web site a few weeks before. Deborah hand dyes the most gorgeous l/2" rayon ribbon in a sumptuous array of colors. I needed a wide ribbon for some of the large flowers, and Deborahís was perfect. When I called to order it, I asked Deborah if she also had any Crazy Quilt work; she popped this beautiful pattern in with my order.

Although I did have some trouble drawing this ribbon through the fabric, the wide weave of the tapestry made it possible with a little tugging. The rayon ribbon withstood the working extremely well, with no fraying or running. However, after I finished this spray of flowers, I knew that flowers worked "off site" and then sewn on were a better choice!

Here are instructions for pansies worked in rayon ribbon. I experimented a little with the color of some of the ribbon by over-dying it with fabric markers, and even used a little dilute bleach solution on a shade of vintage green rayon seam binding to vary that color.

To start your pansy, cut two lengths of 1/2" wide rayon ribbon, each length measuring 2". Use a fray check product on all cut edges. Lay the two pieces at right angles, with the left piece of ribbon on top; pin. These are the back two petals.

Knot a matching sewing thread, and anchor on the underneath side of the upper ribbon; make a Running Stitch as shown. Gently gather petals to desired fullness, and take a Back Stitch at the end of the second petal. The finished pansies are about 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" wide. Do not cut the sewing thread; leave approximately eight to ten inches.

Make the pansy cheeks in the same way, using a slightly different color of ribbon in two lengths of 1ĺ". Remember to apply fray check to the ribbon, and leave a tail of sewing thread.

For the beard, or bottom petal, cut a length of ribbon about 2" and apply fray check. Sew in a squared U-shape as shown, gather and Back Stitch; again leaving a tail of thread.

Using the tail of sewing thread, place the back (or bottom) two petals in position on your fabric and stitch into the place between the gathers, slightly separating the petals if necessary. Stitch the cheek petals on top of the back petals, and slightly lower.

Place the beard under the cheek petals and stitch in place. I used a large nail-head bead for the center of the pansy, but you could also use a knot of ribbon, or tiny button. Circle the center of the pansy with random French Knots or Straight Stitches.

To see all the fabulous purses in the contest go to: http://www.crazyquiltinginternational.blogspot.com/

And be sure to stop by and see Deborah Brunnerís great site: http://www.deborahbrunner.com/

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